By Leman Mammadova
Representatives of travel companies from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will visit Azerbaijan to promote tourism potential of Azerbaijan in the Middle East region and expand mutual tourism ties.
Delegations will visit Azerbaijan on April 9-12 and April 14-18, respectively.
Representatives of 10 companies from Saudi Arabia and 14 from the UAE will take part in a study tour organized by the Azerbaijan Tourism Board.
During the visits, the meeting will be organized to expand the possibilities of cooperation with local travel companies. During the events, presentations on the tourism potential of Azerbaijan will be held.
It should be noted that official tourism representative offices of Azerbaijan have been operating in Riyadh and Dubai since the end of last year.
Azerbaijan is among the fastest-growing destinations for tourists.
The beautiful nature of Azerbaijan, hospitality of its people, the country's capital with its super modern and ancient buildings draws the attention of all tourists visiting this South Caucasian country.
The mesmerizing mix of East and West, the possibility to have a rest on the Caspian Sea shore and enjoy fresh air and delicious meals have always been attracting tourists to Azerbaijan. Many of them get so much fascinated with the country and its capital Baku that they come back to visit Azerbaijan again after a while.
In recent years, trade and tourism relations of Azerbaijan with Gulf countries are growing rapidly.
According to the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan, in 2018, as many as 2,849,600 tourists from 196 countries visited Azerbaijan, and UAE citizens accounted for 3.3 percent of those arriving in the country while Saudi citizens accounted for about 2.6 percent.
However, UAE citizens made 3.6 percent of 364,200 foreigners came to Azerbaijan in January-February 2019.
Simplification of visa regime also played a major role in the growth of tourist flow from Middle East. In February 2016, Azerbaijan simplified the procedure of obtaining visas for citizens of Gulf countries.
It’s noteworthy that Saudi Arabia facilitates to increase flow of Arab tourists to Azerbaijan.
The Saudi Travel and Tourism Association is developing a "road map" to provide assistance in attracting Arab tourists to Azerbaijan. The "road map" is designed for five years. All aspects of the cooperation of the sides will be coordinated with the State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan. Saudi Arabia will also attract tourists to Azerbaijan, and will ensure an annual increase in investment in the country at a level of at least five percent.
Recently, Flynas, Saudi Arabia's leading low-cost airline, has announced its plan to launch flights to Baku. That will contribute to the further growth in tourist flow to Baku from Gulf countries.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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